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When Bradley Wiggins met Eddy Merckx

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What happened when Eddy Merckx sat down with Bradley Wiggins and Fabian Cancellara to discuss icons of the sport at the Rouleur Classic

Words:
Photographs: Simon Gill
wiggins, merckx, Cancellara

Bradley Wiggins met Eddy Merckx at the Rouleur Classic this evening. The pair sat down on the stage, along with Fabian Cancellara and host Jonathan Edwards, to discuss their memories and opinions as Wiggins launches his new book ICONS.

 

Both Merckx are Cancellara are amongst the 21 riders featured in the new book in which Wiggins reflects on the inspiration he found in these riders and showcases the memorabilia he’s collected.

 

Here is a taste of what Merckx, Wiggins and Cancellara discussed when the theme of icons was discussed.

 

Wiggins: “It’s just a honour to be sat here in the company of these people.”

 

“There won’t be another rider like this one [Merckx].”

 

“Obviously cycling’s changes. But we’re all here because we follow the riders who’ve gone before us.”

 

Read: Bradley Wiggins – what fascinates me about Lance Armstrong (book extract)

 

Merckx: “Stan Ockers was my hero when I was a child. And, you know [more recently]: Bradley.”

 

Cancellara: “From the youngsters now there’s Peter Sagan – he stands out for me right now. [At the suggestion of Alaphilippe]: Alaphilippe is young-young. And he’s French. [He still needs to prove himself].”

 

“Peter’s won all kinds of ways.”

 

“[When I was growing up:] Mainly I liked Classics guys: Tafi, Ballerini. but my idol was Miguel [Indurain]. The biggest mistake for me was to say I wanted to win the Tour… I figured out later that the Tour wasn’t for me.”

 

Merckx: “I think [in my] time all the riders did both the Classics and Tours. I think the big change for me was that I didn’t ride many stage races when I was young. Once I won the Giro, I was convinced I could win the Tour de France.”

 

Cancellara: “[Another modern day icon for me is] Valverde: he’s there from the start of the season to the end. He’s special. He’s a champ.”

 

Merckx. “Sagan sure. Then we have Chris Froome [reaction from Wiggins]. Thomas was very impressive this year. And Dumoulin too.”

 

Wiggins: “Chris is a great athlete don’t get me wrong.”

 

“Chris Froome on form has got another Tour in him.”

 

“One thing G is really good at and he doesn’t get enough praise for is the way he rode on the flat stages. I don’t think he was out of the top ten.”

 

Read: Geraint Thomas – did Froome want to attack me? (book extract)

 

“Bardet – he got second to Valverde [at the Worlds] and I think he has real personality. Then you’ve got guys like Bernal and all the young guys at Sky.”

 

Merckx: “Maybe next year Bardet could win the Tour. He’s riding Eddy Merckx bikes. He’s got a chance!”